New Zealand’s National Party is facing legal action for allegedly stealing from an Eminem hit. According to a statement from the Detroit-based Eminem Publishers, one of the party’s campaign ads includes a guitar riff strikingly similar to the famous riff in Lose Yourself from the soundtrack to the 2002 film 8 Mile.
According to Stuff.co.nz, it is the owners of Eminem’s song, not the artist himself, taking the action. “In proceedings filed today in the Wellington Registry of the High Court of New Zealand, Eight Mile Style, LLC and Martin Affiliated, LLC, the Detroit-based publishers of Eminem’s copyrights, are seeking damages for copyright infringement against the New Zealand National Party,” the company said in a statement.
“The proceedings stem from allegations that unauthorised use has been made of Eminem’s Grammy and Academy Award winning song, Lose Yourself, in election campaign advertising run by the National Party in the lead up to the 2014 New Zealand General Election which is to take place on 20 September 2014.”
Steven Joyce, campaign manager for the NZ National Party, whose re-election will be decided this weekend, insists that no copyright infringement took place. “We think it’s pretty legal, we think these guys are just having a crack and have a bit of an eye for the main chance because it’s an election campaign.”
“We’ve got all the licensing, we’ve told them that and made it clear again this afternoon. We also incidentally moved on from this song about two weeks ago at the same time they first started to raise questions,” he said. “I think they’re just trying to shake us down for some money before the election.”
However, Joel Martin, speaking on behalf of the publishers, said they were not approached for permission to use any Eminem songs in the ad. He referred to Lose Yourself as “one of the most iconic copyrights in the world”, before adding, “the song’s publishers have rarely authorised its use to advertise products and have said that they would never allow it to be used in connection with any political campaign.”
According to the statement, the song’s publishers have previously sued Apple for using an Eminem song in a commercial spot without permission and were engaged in a dispute with carmaker Audi after the publishers alleged that the company wrongfully used a reproduction of Lose Yourself in its advertising.
Meanwhile, though Mr Joyce insists that the National Party will be defending the allegations “rigorously”, it’s not the first time the party has been in hot water over the use of a song. In 2007, the NP was forced to recall 20,000 DVDs after music featured on the discs sounded too similar to Coldplay‘s hit Clocks.
Watch: NZ National Party Advertisement 2014 / Lose Yourself
Watch: Eminem – Lose Yourself